With a young and inexperienced club, bumps in the road were expected.
LSU’s 21-year, 82-game streak of consecutive wins over in-state opponents came to an end Tuesday night as Nicholls State upset the Tigers 62-53 in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
Freshmen Andre Stringer and Matt Derenbecker each scored 14 points in the game to lead LSU.
Senior Anatoly Bose scored a game high 28 points in 35 minutes of action for the Colonels.
“I like Bose. I’ve always liked him,” said LSU coach Trent Johnson. “He’s, to me, what college basketball is all about. He’s a guy that’s not overly strong. He’s not big. He understands how to play this game.”
The turnovers that irked Johnson against Northwestern State manifested themselves in game two. LSU turned the ball over 18 times, which in turn led to 11 Colonel points.
The Tigers expected to be able to control the paint against a Nicholls St. team with no player taller than 6-foot-6, but the Colonels outscored LSU 20-18 down low, much in-part because junior forward Malcolm White picked up his second foul with 16:53 to play in the first half. He only played 10 minutes in the game and finished with two points and a pair of rebounds.
Tuesday marked the second time in as many games that a Tiger forward has struggled with foul trouble. That being said, the high expectations for the inside tandem of Warren and White have been unfulfilled through the first two contests.
“It takes a load off of my back, knowing somebody’s on the other side that can get the job done as well,” Warren said. “(White) got caught like I got caught in the first game, being overly aggressive and using his hands.”
LSU led the game by five at halftime behind Stringer’s nine points.
Nicholls St. took a brief lead at the 15:25 mark in the second half on a lay-up by Kenny Franklin Jr. A Derenbecker three-point bucket, the second of his three, tied the game back up. After being fouled on the shot, Derenbecker’s free throw pushed LSU in front.
The lead only lasted 13 seconds.
Eldridge Moore knocked down a pair of free throws with 13:50 to play that gave the Colonels a lead they never relinquished. After storming out of the gates with an 87-point performance in game one, the Tigers struggled offensively due to the slower pace the Colonels played with.
“They tried their best to slow it down,” Stringer said. “They got on their end and turned the ball a lot. When we got on our end we didn’t get the looks we normally get.”
Johnson kept the blame on his team.
“It was all us,” Johnson said. “You throw the ball in the post to Storm; he drops the ball. Before the half, Andre splits (the defense), drops it to Eddie; he drops it. It’s just basic, simple concentration.”
The Tigers return to work Wednesday to prepare for Tennessee-Martin, who visits the PMAC Thursday night for a 7 p.m. tip. LSU hits the road this Sunday for the first time to take on Memphis in Tupelo, Miss.